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As players take their final breaks before training camp, The Redskins Blog will take a look back at the new faces from this offseason and what we've learned about them, football and otherwise, so far.
Today, we'll focus on veteran safety Dashon Goldson.
1. He looked up to Sean Taylor:Probably not a surprise considering how similar Goldson flies around the field and lays out opponents, but "The Hawk," as he is known, wants to make sure he's not just playing like Taylor. He wants to bring his ethos to the field, too.
Check out images of veteran safety Dashon Goldson during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
"[Taylor] was an enforcer, and I always looked up to him," Goldson said. "For the guys I paid attention to, it was definitely him. Bob Sanders [too] when he was in there…Brian Dawkins. So, a lot of guys who set the tone at the position, and he was one of the main guys who was always making the noise. My attitude was kind of molded around that. I was a physical guy a a young age so I always try to be that enforcer back there. When I figured out I was going to be here, that was one of the things I wanted to get off my chest is pay my respects to a guy who came in here and did tremendous things in this league and definitely at the position for this organization. So, I want to make sure the fans understand my mindset coming in here and being on this defense is definitely going to be setting the tone for sure – enforcing that."
2. He's not just a big hitter, he's a smart player, too:A common misconception about players, specifically safeties, is that the hard hitting ones are all skull and no brains. That somehow, laying out wide receivers doesn't require skill so much as brute strength and fearlessness.
Don't say that next to Dashon Goldson. He'll argue, and rightly so, that his big hits aren't lucky guesses. Instead, they're carefully thought out before the snap, and oftentimes require in-the-moment, instinctual changes.
"I'm a very smart player. A lot of people don't understand the stuff that comes with playing safety," he said. "You have to get guys lined-up, you have to be able to think fast, adjust on the move. So, a lot of that stuff plays a part. I am aggressive. I love being physical, and I think that's definitely something you have to definitely put together a defense. A physical defense is always good. Some people don't like to get hit – point blank. That's just the way it is. People don't like to get hit. That's what I'll bring to this defense, and I'll try to get the guys around me to feed off my energy. I can say vice-versa. I'll feed off theirs."
3. Gruden likes that he brings a veteran presence to safety:This year's secondary has already benefited in practice from having more experienced players, notably Jeron Johnson, Chris Culliver and a healthy Duke Ihenacho. Goldson adds more of that to a group that, overall, is still young and learning.
"He's an experienced guy. He's tough," Gruden said. "He had some great seasons at San Francisco, went to Tampa Bay, might have been a little disappointing down there, I don't know. But based on his tape and his career production, we thought it was worth it to go try to get him. Scot McCloughan did a great job to get the deal done and we're glad we got him. Brings more experience, toughness to the secondary that we need."
4. McCloughan's history with Goldson helped bring him to Washington:A lot of signing free agents is about feel.* *Do you know this player? Have you seen him handle certain situations? Is he the right personality? McCloughan felt he had those answers from his time knowing Goldson in San Francisco.
"It played a lot into it. You know, I was very lucky to draft him when I was in San Fran and he was a corner coming out of the University of Washington," McCloughan said. "I got to know him as a person. He's always been a good football player. He's a physical guy. He's a really good leader for the young guys and he's all about football. I really respect that. I was really lucky – like with Jeron Johnson – to have past working knowledge of them as people, workers during the offseason, workers during the season. He's a forceful impact on game day, big time."
5. He trains with Jay Glazer:Yeah, the former Mixed Martial Artist turned Fox Sport analyst has been helping out Goldson for a while. Hey, whatever works, just stay out of the octagon with him.
"It's different. It's definitely different. It works for me. It works for a lot of guys," Goldson said. "You got a lot of guys who were there. I was training at Unbreakable with Jay. This is probably my third-fourth year going on with him. Some of it makes sense to me. A lot of the training we do is a lot of body stuff, a lot of body weight, a lot of core, a lot of hip strengthening. As a DB, definitely as a physical tackler, you want to have strong hips because that's where it all comes from. A lot of force comes from your hips and a lot of guys think you have to be buff and all that. It's all about leverage and explosiveness. So, I do a lot of that with my hips. And when we worked out, it helped me elevate my game and definitely boxing at the same time. It's good for conditioning. I like it. It's challenging."
6. He wrote a message to the fans and will bring an "attitude to this team":When Goldson moved on from Tampa Bay, he took some time on Twitter to introduce himself to the DMV area. Here's a highlight of his full message.
"I will bring an attitude for sure to this defense. With the experience and knowledge I've accumulated throughout I will do everything to make those better around me. My goal will be for us to have the same heartbeat as a team and ESP as a defense cuz that's where it starts. With that bein said #HTTR. Amen let's all eat."
Amen. Let's all eat.
7. Trent Williams thinks he's one of the best safeties he's ever seen:The Silverback doesn't just give away compliments. So when he says something like that, you know he's being honest. Always nice to have support even from your new Pro Bowl left tackle.
"I'm excited. Dashon Goldson, our 'hawk,' as I call him, to be playing with him again," Williams said. "I just know what he brings to this defense. I'm just excited to see what happens because we have a lot of good players. [Goldson] is one of the best safeties I've ever seen play ball."